Archive for June 27, 2011

The Lisa Loeb of Local Government

June 27, 2011

Why can't you just... Stay

“You say, I only hear what I want to”

So sang one hit (but many album) wonder Lisa Loeb back in the 1990s.

I was reminded of her carefully crafted lyrics last week as I made a quick tour of the Senior Management Teams (SMT) of our council departments.

At the beginning of each meeting the Department Head gives a quick summary of the latest Senior Leadership Team (SLT… We love our acronyms) meeting. This is the meeting of the Chief Executive and his senior managers.

Obviously, these SMT meetings are then a prime opportunity for the senior managers to feedback to their own managers about exactly what the strategic direction of the council is. It also forms the first part of the cascade of knowledge from the big boss down to the minions.

My problem was that I knew at the beginning of the week that I was going to hear the same message 5 times. I was planning to use the moment to update my notes and prepare for my little session of the meeting, before I could then make a quick exit. Indeed, one senior manager did take pity on me and let me get my bit out of the way before the obligatory SLT update took place.

However, this did leave me with four repeats of the same information to sit through, or so I thought. In fact, what I got was four, often quite different, versions of a fairly simple message.

(more…)